Saturday, September 30, 2006


If you are ever bored, just have a quick squint at the wiki of Emmanuel Milingo.

What a career!

I quote: -

Pope Paul VI consecrated him as a Bishop for the Archdiocese of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. He served there from 1969 to 1983.

In the 1970s, while still in
Africa, Archbishop Milingo became an exorcist of charismatic tendency, who was criticized for exorcising in other dioceses without permission and for using all kinds of non-approved charismatic rituals and alleged exorcist prayers, instead of the centuries-old officially approved exorcism rite in the Roman Ritual.

In the 1990s Archbishop Milingo was counted among the "far-right" critics of the institutional Church. During this time, he became well-known in
traditionalist and sedevacantist circles for a speech he gave at the "Fatima 2000" International Conference on World Peace, held on 18-23 November 1996, in which he charged that the current state of the Catholic hierarchy included high-ranking members who were protecting and/or were formally involved in devil worship.

He became a supporter of Reverend
Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church. In May 2001, at the age of 71, he married Maria Sung, a 43-year-old Korean acupuncturist, in New York.

and it goes on....

read more here

Friday, September 29, 2006

Auntie Alice

More of Margaret's memories : -

Auntie Alice was not my favourite relative. She was the eldest of the great aunts, an ex schoolteacher and rather bossy. She had been clever in school, so Nana said, and in those days talented pupils merely stayed on to teach, as, most probably, the family could not afford to send her to a college. One of the schools she worked in was in Barry and there, in her middle years, she met Joe, a widower with a son. They married but had no children. The son was killed in the First World War.

On retirement they moved to Bryn Road, Brynmill, a house overlooking “the rec” and the bowling green. When Joe died she moved, with her youngest sister, Mary, to look after her, to Marlborough Road. When she was a young woman she had to have an operation on her leg and it went wrong. The surgeon, apparently, cut the wrong ligament. So she was crippled for most of her life and was probably always in pain when I knew her. She certainly walked with a stick with difficulty and sat in a straight-backed rocking chair. I still own the stick and the chair and think of her whenever I use them.

She knew I was poor at maths and was always trying to get me to do tests and exercises. I made any excuses I could think of to get out of them. I responded to her good intentions by taking a nail file, which she kept on the front window ledge, and carving my name in a leaf of her aspidistra plant. I was stupid enough to say, “It wasn’t me” afterwards.

She did the pools regularly, enjoyed reading “The Times,” invested in the stock market and was in touch with her stockbroker frequently. When she died, however, Mum was told that her portfolio was worthless (not that Mum would have known any differently) but she obviously enjoyed the mental activity. I was always in awe of her and never managed to get through. I was too flighty for her, I expect, like my Mum.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cats that look like Hitler

And on a more irreverant note, check out : -

Cats that look like Hitler

Hat tip, David Harcombe d:)

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Grampa Thorne

And to make sure that we are not biased, Margaret's memories of Grampa Thorne, my Great Grandfather : -

Grandpa Thorne was a handsome man. Even as a child I knew that. He was in his late seventies and had fine, silver hair, a grey moustache and a squarish head with a pronounced dimple in his chin. He was tall and broad shouldered and he had been a good swimmer. I was told he swam from pier to pier across Swansea bay, but that might have been a story he made up for me. In any case he loved swimming and had taught Mum to enjoy it too. They used to go to the baths frequently as it was close to where they lived. Grandpa’s father, apparently, was a furniture remover (of the pony and trap type) and I imagine the brothers would have helped with the lifting, but Gramps suffered from asthma and often spent some of the winter months in bed. When Mum was born Auntie Alice suggested they should take a shop (I believe she lent them the money) above which they could live. Nana could then run the business in the winter when Gramps was bed-ridden.

It was a shop selling sweets, in St Helens Road, and it had an upstairs room where young men gathered to play billiards. In the basement they produced homemade ice cream from fresh eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla. The mixture was put in a churn packed around with crushed ice that they obtained from a cart, which came from the town icehouse. It arrived covered in sacking in a large block and had to hacked into chunks. In the summer they sometimes ran out of supplies, and people queued along the street while they waited for the next batch to be frozen. Eventually they sold the premises to a member of the Cascarini family, who, in time, bought next door also (the corner shop) knocked them together and opened “Joe’s.” By then Nana and Gramps had moved a few doors up the road to a greengrocer’s, which was a bit roomier. It was from that shop that Mum was married. The traffic was stopped in St Helens Road, and a roll of carpet was thrown across the road to St Paul’s Congregational Church, where Leon Atkins, a well-known local character, married the couple. When Nana and Gramps retired from business they retained the shop, but rented it out and went to live under Mum, Dad and Don in a flat in Brynamor Road, opposite the High School, the school Mum had once attended. They stayed there until I was born in 1940 and the following year I believe Swansea was bombed. That event made them move out of town to Uncle Dai’s farm, Rhyd-y-Ffynon, on the road to Llandeilo. (He wasn’t really an uncle). Nana and Gramps looked after us there while our parents travelled in to the shop each day and Don went to a local school.

After about a year they moved with us into 105 Dunvant Road, Killay, and Grandpa kept some vicious geese in a shed at the bottom of the garden but after a few years they went to Brynmill and moved in with Aunties Alice and Mary and Uncle Dick in Marlborough Road. Gramps was loved animals and birds, had shown wire-haired terriers and kept show pigeons. I still have some hand-painted pigeon spoons he was presented with.

He always wore flannel shirts with detachable collars, waistcoats and a watch and chain. He could be persuaded to open the back of this item to entertain me. Inside one compartment was a photo of Mum and another held a lock of her hair. He was a pipe smoker and kept a rack of odd-shaped pipes by his chair on the right of the stove. Over about five years he had three strokes, the first slowed him down a lot and though his arm wasn’t completely paralysed it was colder and more lifeless. We talked a lot in front of the fire. I think he thought I was Mum some of the time. The second stroke paralysed him completely and Nana moved their bed downstairs so she could look after him better. He was still a strong man though and in his frustration he once grabbed her as she was bending over him and nearly throttled her. I visited him the day before he died and I can still recall the taste of sweat on his brow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Nana Thorne

Below is a letter I recieved today from my lovely Auntie Margaret, with some of her memories of her Grandmother, (My Great Grandmother). Perhaps one of my kids will read it one day in the future, and it will bring to life for a moment, their Great, Great Grandmother. (I'm the Chris mentioned at the end)

Nana Thorne

I only remember her in old age, and she seemed very old but was the age I am now when I spent most time with her. She was of small to medium height, round and lumpy with a low, heavy bust, a sweet face, little round glasses and long slate grey hair twisted into a sort of sausage round the back of her neck. She favoured darker colours or small prints with little touches of lace, like collars, cuffs and jabots, which were removable for washing. She wore “sensible” lace up shoes which were regularly polished. She lived at no 9(?) Marlborough Road, Brynmill, near Rhyddings Church, in a terraced house next to a lock-up shop, used for storage originally, but eventually it became a funeral parlour. It never occurred to me that mightn’t be very comfortable. They certainly never mentioned it. Nana lived there with Gramps till he died, in the back room, next to the kitchen. They had a bedroom at the back of the house too with a high brass bed with knobs on each corner that I was fond of unscrewing. Down the linoleum floored passage Auntie Mary and Auntie Alice lived in the middle room of the house with a tiny kitchen built into a glassed over lean-to in the return. They all shared the front room, the outside loo and the small back garden. There was an Uncle Dick living there too, an unmarried mason (I think) who was tall and skinny with a rather bulbous nose. He died first. All I remember about him was that he wore waistcoats and was kind to me but I sensed that he had no real interest in kids. He liked eating crab and used to bring fresh ones home (whether he caught them or bought them I don’t know.) Nana knew how to cook and dress them in the old fashioned way with vinegar, mustard and hard-boiled eggs, separating the brown from the white meat and returning it artistically to the shell. They looked a work of art when she had finished. She was a good cook and appreciated freshness and quality. She and the aunts had an order each week from the shop and Mum and Dad would deliver it on their way home on the Saturday night and pick me up at the same time

We used to have all the aunts and uncles plus Nana and Gramps to our place for Christmas lunch every year. As the only child in a big family, it was expected that Mum would “do the honours.” Dad or Don would pick them all up in the car at about twelve. There used to be ten to fifteen in all around our big dining table. After a mammoth turkey meal with trimmings (the parsley and thyme stuffing and the Christmas pudding would be made by Auntie Mary in advance) all the oldies would collapse into armchairs around the coal fire, bellies uppermost, snoring lustily, while we washed dishes and prepared the tea, a turkey sandwich and they always complained that they could only manage a sliver of the Christmas cake.

Nana returned the hospitality on Boxing Day when she cooked a goose, her favourite meat, with sage and onion stuffing, and yet another of Auntie Mary’s puddings (with silver coins hidden in it for me to find). Dad always took a hip flask with us because Nana was teetotal (her father, a pilot in the docks, she once told me, drank heavily and her memories of getting him out of the pub had made her “sign the pledge.”) Dad had to coax her out of the kitchen for a moment or two to slip a shot of brandy in the white sauce. I suspect she knew though as every year she made the same remark,
“You see, Haydn, you don’t need brandy in a sauce to make it taste as good as this.”
We would all agree.
After lunch Mum stayed and relaxed and we would walk down the hill to see Swansea play the Watsonians. There were a lot of hip flasks in evidence there too

I was dropped off on Nana and Gramps’ doorstep every Saturday on Mum and Dad’s way to open the shop and I would spend the day there. Nana had been “given a trade” as a seamstress and often made clothes for me. I had to stand on a pouffe ( I still have it) and be pinned, which I found very boring. I didn’t like the things she made either, they were old fashioned, and not what my friends were wearing. After lunch the three sisters used to gather for an afternoon chat and I would join them. Friends would call, mostly widows and spinsters, and they would gossip behind the net curtains and the aspidistra in the front window and spy on the neighbours. They had a dainty but uncomfortable Georgian suite of furniture, I remember, straight backed and arranged around a table which was for the tea things. Auntie Mary made the cakes. The fire was never lit; but they had good fires in their own rooms for the evening. Nana's stayed in all day and had to be black leaded as it was a stove as well and was lovely to sit beside. She used to make Welsh rarebit in a cup without a handle in a blackened saucepan of water on top of the stove while I held bread on a toasting fork in front of the embers. Welsh rarebit has never tasted so good since. Nana was very fond of grapes but couldn't abide the skin of them, so she would settle down for an hour with half a pound of grapes and peel every one. That was when she told me about Henry VIII and his six wives, the Great Fire of London and The Plague. She had a taste for the gory bits of history or perhaps she saved them especially for me. She had a set of large books with very graphic illustrations on thin paper. She fell and broke her hip in the back yard when she was in her 80s (I was twenty at the time and working in Aberystwyth) and she never really recovered. Recently I found an entry for her death in an old diary of Mum’s “The worst day of all” it said, nothing more, that was Mum’s style, but it was heart-felt. I can’t remember the funeral service but afterwards there was a sit down meal in Marlborough Road for all her friends and relations.
“Why didn’t you do a buffet, Mum?” I asked, as we laid out the places.
She didn’t reply.
“It would have been so much easier,” I persisted.
Eventually she replied, “It was what your grandmother wanted.”
It was the year Chris was born.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

It must have been Andrex

from the FBI wanted alert : -

John Parsons escapes from the Ross County Jail in Ohio on July 29, 2006, after fashioning a rope out of toilet paper and bed sheets.

All I can say is that he must have used Andrex - Soft, Strong And Very, Very long.........

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A chat on the bus, continued

Coming back from Glan-Llyn this friday, I had an interesting chat with Martin Lloyd about the origins of the Basque language. as I posted celts and basques blood-brothers? earlier.

He felt that it seemed to have a Scandinavian feel to it, containing lots of t's, k's, and z's. I took up the idea, theorising that perhaps the Norsemen had ventured even further south than Normandy, and influenced the North West coast of Spain?

In another case of syncronicity, my Newsgator RSS feed threw up the following : -

prospect magazine

Everything you know about British and Irish ancestry is wrong. Our ancestors were Basques, not Celts. The Celts were not wiped out by the Anglo-Saxons, in fact neither had much impact on the genetic stock of these islands

Stephen Oppenheimer

read more here

Maybe it's time to review all our established ideas about the spread of culture in Europe, with the help of modern scientific tools such as DNA analysis. I am amazed by the lack of knowledge about what really happened in these places, only 2000 years ago.

Now it looks as if the Basques were the precursors of the Celts, the same people, but with changing languages?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Celts & Basques Blood brothers?

I had an interesting discussion today about the origin of the Basque language, and whether there is a link to Viking colonisation in Western Europe.

Whilst googling I came across this from the bbc , and this the Basques

Perhaps the Basques were not Norsemen, similar to the Normans in France, but Celts.

Автомат Калашникова образца 1947 года

Автомат Калашникова образца 1947 года

From the excellent Wiki : -

the wiki of the day is the AK-47
Fascinating stuff. A design great. I want one.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Normal service will be resumed..........

My reader may have noticed my appaling lack of posts recently. This is NOT due to lack of interest, but solely due to my lack of a life at the moment.

They told me that my first year of teaching would be busy, but.....

Seriously, I'm having a ball, I just don't have time to post here much at the moment. As I say, I hope normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

next week I will definately not blog, as I will be here